At the beginning of the century, it would have been impossible to imagine that a garment like swimsuit would come into our lives. While the first swimwear was already known in 1860 (consisting of long trousers, stockings and camisoles), it was not until the early 30s that this garment began to gain recognition, causing quite a stir and conquering the mentality of Spanish people very slowly.
The early 20th Century: they were made from wool, with a t-shirt-shaped neckline and trousers that should cover thighs. Thus, slowly, discreetly, the female swimsuit acquired lightness and evolved slowly but surely. However, it was not until 1930, thanks to Jantzen firm, that we saw the real shift towards one-piece swimsuits.
In the 30s, Hollywood divas were to set new trends with one- and two-piece swimsuits, making an impression. Pinup-style uniforms appeared, consisting of tight-fitting bra and girdle.
In the 40s, the one-piece version regained strength. Designs were, mostly, stripe prints and marine motifs. Thereby, the 50s triumphed with models on beaches and swimming pools from all over the world. Swimsuits and bikinis came in hand with an attempt of female freedom, of body cult free from guilt or insecurity.
The 60s appeared in hand with models with more daring necklines such as the strapless one and other designs that provided elegance and sophistication. Artists like Grace Kelly or Liz Taylor wore them with pleasure and confidence, finding their place in between the most avant-garde fashion.
Now it is hard to believe, but the female swimsuit was a constant struggle, a feminine challenge, the ultimate expression of audacity and, as might be expected, it was rejected by some cultures and institutions.
Yet others did not pay attention to these prohibitions, and cities such as Mallorca, Menorca, or Benidorm broke the rules allowing its use to the European women that summered there and sunbathed with swimsuit, freely.
Bikini became popular and Lycra was invented. Toplessness and monokini arrived – we were in the 80s. These were years of body cult explosion, where TV programmes like Baywatch returned swimsuit to the forefront.
High-waisted ones triumphed, elegant and suiting all types of bodies, backless and providing comfort and freshness.
The 80s broke the moulds, some garments such as trikini were designed, the Brazilian Cut Bottom was born and models opted to explore multiple and original designs.
Old-fashioned models were updated, sport swimsuits and bikinis were designed, patchwork was used in garments, ornamental motifs on chest and hips were born, etc. The swimsuit became an innovative and shameless piece of clothing that helped to understand female history.
But back to our chronological line, we are already at the end of the 80s, a decade in which bikinis and thongs were very well recognised. In sport competitions, however, the swimsuit prevailed and its suitability as a bathing suit was flaunted.
Designers such as Lacroix or Yves Saint Laurent focused on sculpturesque forms and aimed for precision, finishing off their designs with ornaments that nuanced the final product.
The 90s were a return to the classic fashion, to the common swimsuit. The natural, funny, striped swimsuit. A seamless model, with no cup, rings, or complex crossbacks.
Stylish swimsuits, without extras, paid homage to those wonderful years where reality seemed to surpass fiction.
And we come to the present day. Every year, many brands in fashion opt for inventing and innovating in swimsuits. There are infinite possibilities and it is important to recognize and value what suits us best. Slimming swimsuits, female and sport swimsuits, large sizes – everything is possible.
We can guess that 2019 will be full of prints, stripes, and polka dots. We can glimpse that designers will continue to combine vintage style with more modern details and frills that will adorn the most daring necklines.
Even in 2018, it was already shown that swimsuit fashion is timeless and remains being the main protagonist among women. Thus, actresses and models like Sara Carbonero or Paula Echevarríahave opted for pointing out the benefits of the one-piece swimsuit – let’s see what tomorrow brings.